Women’s Health Report on Aging: How to Relieve Joint Pain


Studies have shown that women are eight times more likely than men to experience joint pain. Many of us assume that joint pain is a natural part of the aging process. Not so! These days, joint pain can be a very manageable affliction, with treatments ranging from diet, routine exercise, medication, and — increasingly common — joint replacement.

Here are some easy Do-it-Yourself tips to help keep you vivacious and pain-free:

  • Certain foods have been found to increase inflammation and joint pain. Whenever possible, avoid refined/processed foods (white flour/sugar, canned/”instant”/frozen foods, artificial sweeteners, soda drinks, etc.) Adverse reactions to these foods vary among individuals, so you might try an “elimination” method to uncover your “trigger” foods.
  • Physicians have found that many joint pain sufferers benefit from a “Mediterranean Diet” rich in fresh produce, unsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts), whole grains, fish/poultry, and favoring herbs and spices over salt and butter.
  • Dietary supplements can also be beneficial. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation – though they are found naturally in walnuts, fresh fish, and flaxseed, they can be taken in capsule form. Glucosamine for knee pain and Calcium for bone health  are also suggested by many doctors. I always recommend that you conduct your own research and consult with a health provider who specializes in joint pain.
  • One of the best ways to preserve joint health is to keep active!  When engaging in sedentary activities (at the computer, watching TV) remember to take frequent breaks to move your body. To increase flexibility, practice daily range-of-motion exercises (for a great resource on this topic, see here: http://www.orthop.washington.edu/PatientCare/OurServices/Arthritis/Articles/ExerciseandArthritis.aspx).
  • Watch your posture! We all find ourselves with shoulders slumped from time to time. To improve skeletal alignment, try frequent walks, low-impact exercises (e.g. swimming, cycling), or occasionally swapping your office chair for an exercise ball.
  • Go easy on yourself. Working through pain can lead to further injury. Try a gentler workout, and ice the afflicted area. As always, at the onset of pain it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before attempting to self-treat.
  • Here’s a video on the Mediterranean Diet.

Here’s to your health and vitality. Take a moment to offer your tips for joint pain and to forward this to friends.

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